NFC South 2020 Fantasy Breakdown
By Steve Uetz
Welcome to 2020 NFL team breakdown!
The team breakdowns will contain an overarching theme for each team or more specifically...each offensive core. The offensive cores will be organized into four categories: FADE, NEUTRAL, BUY, and BIG BUY! ADP and auction values will somewhat reflect this, but I will be adding some personal perspective with keeping some rules of thumb in mind.
Rule of Thumb #1: Each offensive core may have specific player exceptions.
Rule of Thumb #2: Every player has value at the right price.
The breakdowns will include the players to target from each team, the players’ ideal positional count for your roster, target cost for auction budget % and round #, league type preferences, along with optional blurbs from your's truly. Throughout the team breakdowns, be sure to keep your eyes wide open looking for the players with the coveted “Ladder Pick” label. The “Ladder Pick” players are who I have identified as those who will help you climb the ladder of fantasy football success for the 2020 season.
I have 6 teams whose offensive core make up the BIG BUY category, 8 teams in the BUY category, 12 teams in the NEUTRAL category, and the remaining 6 teams will generally be considered as a FADE. Just so we are on the same page…BIG BUY=offensive cores to target aggressively; BUY=offensive cores that are reach worthy; NEUTRAL=offensive cores (with some players exceptions both positive and negative) to be drafted at value – not to be reached for nor to be shied away from; FADE=offensive cores to pass on at consensus ranking, players to be drafted weighing risk, or players to be drafted only if at a value, larger the discount the better...always!
Let’s reveal where the offensive cores fit, shall we?
Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and the Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, and the Minnesota Vikings
Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, and The Washington Football Team.
We begin our team breakdown with the fantasy friendly NFC South…
Overall this offense is an absolute BUY! The offense begins and ends with Christian McCaffrey, but there is a lot to like in the offensive skill position core.
QB Teddy Bridgewater: high upside QB2, $1 in 14 team auction leagues, priority FA regarding starter injury/bye week. Teddy’s NFL journey has been a wild ride, he now finds himself on a Carolina Panthers team with a new head coach in defensive-minded Matt Rhule and a new offensive coordinator with aggressive and fast-pace play calling Joe Brady; formerly the OC of the 2019 National Champion LSU Tigers. Whoa baby!
RB Christian McCaffrey: THE RB1, 1.01, 35% auction budget. He is a cheat code and will remain at top of the draft board until proven otherwise.
WR DJ Moore: a PPR and YAC stud, WR1, 15-17% auction budget, Round 3 target, will be absolutely smashing his name if he falls to Round 4
WR Curtis Samuel: WR5, WR4 (if robust RB) upside depth stash, PPR league target, 1-2% auction budget, round 13
WR Robby Anderson: WR5, WR4 (if robust RB), unpredictable big play ability makes him most appealing in Best Ball leagues, 1-2% auction budget, round 14
TE Ian Thomas: TE2 with sneaky TE1 upside, $1 in deep auction leagues, priority FA regarding starter injury/bye week
This year the Falcons continue to be a consistent and fantasy friendly offense. They are in my upper echelon of offenses to target for all draft types. The Falcons offensive core fits into my BIG BUY category!
QB Matt Ryan: “Ladder Pick” QB1 has the best WR duo in the league and a new RB and TE target. I expect a lot of high scoring contests out of this team with Matt Ryan being the ultimate beneficiary. 4-6% of auction budget, round 6-7 target, he is QB worth reaching for even when conventional wisdom says to wait on QB.
RB Todd Gurley: High risk/high reward - RB2 is preferable, but would be happy with him as my RB1 if I were to go robust at WR or grab an elite TE in round 2. With a crowded backfield behind him, I would hold any of backups in Brian Hill or Ito Smith as priority FA adds. If Gurley is drafted as your RB1, I would make RB a big priority for rounds 5-9. 14-18% auction budget. Round 4 would be desirable.
WR Julio Jones: WR1, 20-22% auction budget, round 2. He is a GO is all league formats, although I would be a bit more aggressive in best ball formats. Incredibly solid option, also highly productive and I hope that production shows up a bit more in the TD column.
WR Calvin Ridley: “Ladder Pick” - WR2 with WR1 upside. The perfect compliment to Julio Jones has been a producer each year and now he enters his 3rd season destined to breakout. Give me ALL of the Calvin Ridley shares!! 13-14% auction budget, round 4. You know the GIF of Winnie the Pooh sitting at the table with the pot of honey in front of him, his napkin tied around his neck, utensils in hand, eyes closed, smiling and dancing back and forth. Well, I’m Winnie the Pooh and Calvin Ridley is the honey.
TE Hayden Hurst: This TE1 is in a tier with Evan Engram, he will finally get his chance to shine in this juggernaut offense.
New Orleans Saints
The Sean Payton-Drew Brees brain-trust continues to be an entertaining and fantasy friendly offense. The Saints offensive core will remain a BUY!
QB Drew Brees: QB1, 4% of auction budget, round 7-8 target, consistently productive surrounded by some of the game best weapons!
RB Alvin Kamara: RB1, 28-30% of auction budget, round 1, PPR dream, just flat out good at the game
RB Latavius Murray: RB3, this zero-RB draft strategy target serves as a great compliment to Alvin Kamara, if Kamara misses time Murray enters low RB1/high-RB2 territory. 5-7% of auction budget, round 9-10 target
WR Michael Thomas: The WR1, this PPR machine broke the NFL catches record last season with 144 catches. This is an average of 9 per game. 9 catches PER GAME!! I’m honestly happy if a WR gets around 9 *targets* a game. I see no sign of him slowing down. 28-30% auction budget, round 1
WR Emmanuel Sanders: One of my favorite players is now playing along side of Michael Thomas with Drew Brees throwing to him...you love to see it! WR3, 7-8% auction budget, round 9-10
TE Jared Cook: Low end TE1, 2-3% auction budget, round 9, I think any smart fantasy player would want pieces of the New Orleans offense - he may not seem like a “sexy” pick but what I think is “sexy” is opportunity in an elite offense. Also, do yourself a favor and remind yourself of what he did in the second half of the season last year.
TE Adam Trautman: A dynasty favorite, this extremely athletic rookie will be learning from a big play veteran in Jared Cook and will have the pleasure of playing Drew Brees for what he has left and possibly Jameis Winston in the future. BUY!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bruce Arians, Tom Brady, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski, OJ Howard, Ronald Jones, Ke’Shawn Vaughn...BIG BUY!!
QB Tom Brady: QB1, 3-4% auction budget, round 10. Brady enters into a smorgasbord of offensive weapons that I argue boasts the 2nd best WR and TE groups in the league and with a decent stable of RBs this team will feast. Brady will be the prime beneficiary of this offense!
RBs Ronald Jones: (RB3, 7-8% auction budget, round 7 if robust WR with elite TE strategy) and Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB4, 4-5% auction budget, round 10) are the only draftable RBs for 12 team drafts. LeSean McCoy and Dare Ogunbowale should be priority FA if Jones or Vaughn miss time. I want players in this offense so keep a close eye.
WRs Chris Godwin (WR1, 16-18% auction budget, round 2) and Mike Evans (WR1, 14-15% auction budget, round 3) are the most important pieces of this offense, they will help open up the running game as well as help the TE create mismatches. I love them both in all formats, I’d be willing to be aggressive to draft Mike Evans in best ball formats.
TEs Rob Gronkowski (low end TE1, 1-2% auction budget, round 9), OJ Howard (TE2 with upside to be TE1 group if Gronk were to miss time, $1 deep auction league stash, priority FA) and Cameron Brate (very late round target for best ball formats, priority FA in all other formats if Gronk/Howard were to miss time or as a bye week replacement).
I will generally be fading Gronk this year. I think the best and smart play is to target him late or for cheap in an auction draft with the hopes that he produces well enough early on to be used as a sell high candidate. I hope I am wrong on that because he is an awesome and fun player who I fear will be mainly touchdown dependent.
Follow me on Twitter @FantasyLadder
Steve Uetz has over 15 years of experience in fantasy football. He enjoys writing fantasy football content and articles. He is very passionate about Auction Leagues. Other than his own fantasy football teams, Steve is a huge fan of the Philadelphia Eagles & Penn State! Steve (@FantasyLadder on Twitter) is very accessible and involved in the Fantasy Football Twitter community! Reach out to him anytime for questions or advice! His primary goal is to help you win your leagues.